What Is That: Heart, Mind, Body & Soul?
What difference does it make? You have your beliefs, I have mine, so what? Look
around at the world today and notice whatever is there. Start with what your five senses are telling you. And then notice the stories your mind is telling you based on that data from what you see, hear, smell, touch, taste, and what you feel. Your 5 senses give you your current, local perimeter. Your perimeter may be the room you are sitting in, or the house or the office building or the waiting room you are in. Try this exercise to expand your perimeter:
Widen your view from the immediate room you may be in to the neighborhood or the town or the city and even expand your awareness to the county you are in. Once you have expanded your view that much, consider expanding your perimeter even more. Keep going until you have included not only the state and then the country you live in but also include the continent your body is set on, and then include the whole entire rest of the planet. That’s a lot. It will take real time out to really achieve an awareness of all that. Why take that time out? Because you will get more of what you want in your life when you do expand your awarenesses to the rest of your world. You are never really alone. The more you connect to the world around you, the more you will achieve better health, longer life, and greater well-being, so says Harvard Medical School.
Because you are never alone. Yes, we all create “time out” when we retreat from all the rest of the world, retreat even from our closest intimate partners. We need that time “alone.” It is always a time to refresh and revitalize. So, semantics aside, we are never really alone. We share our planet with over 7.5 billion other humans being [grammar intentional]. And yet our western culture continues to encourage isolation. Oxford University Press notes: “Western individualism confuses autonomy (the ability to act according to our internalized values and beliefs) with independence (not being reliant on or influenced by others)…the result is not only increased objective isolation, but also more subjective loneliness (even in company or within relationships) [emphasis mine].” This conflict between connection and isolation is both internal and external. I don’t want to feel afraid to walk down the street, to feel separate from someone using a machete to injure a college student who admits she is a democrat, but my survival instincts move me to defend in times of apparent danger.
OK, the world is crazy. What’s the remedy? Go back to the exercise you just skimmed over at the beginning of this article. Carve time out to actually work through the few steps of the exercise. Start with giving yourself just 5 minutes to do the exercise. Let your monkey mind tell you it’s stupid, tell you that you won’t get anything out of it, tell you it’s a total waste of time. Do NOT believe your monkey mind. It [your monkey mind] takes a kernel of truth, blows up a story out of that kernel (sort of like popcorn), and wants you to believe the story. The good news is that your mind is just as capable of helping you find the real truth: that there will be some real value for you by actually following the steps of the exercise. Try it. Find out. What have you got to lose, or better yet, ask yourself, what have you got to gain?
Here is what you will gain: a deeper experience of the pre-existing connection between your heart, your mind, your body and your soul, and everybody else and every one of their souls. Your soul is just as connected to every other soul of every other being on this planet as your body is connected to the same air that circulates from here to North Korea, to Moscow, to Berlin, to London, to Cape Town, to Caracas, to Machu Picchu, to Ho Chi Minh City. And the same water. Rain is rain. We are all connected. The same sun shines on us all. There is an inevitable opening of conscious awareness to our interconnectedness as long as we are willing to entertain the possibilities. It is your mind that will choose to open to those possibilities. Becoming open to something new can create very positive results for you.
Danielle DiPirro, author of the book, Stay Positive: Daily Reminders from Positively Present, notes: “When you open your mind, you free yourself from having to be in complete control of your thoughts. You allow yourself to experience new ideas and thoughts and you challenge the beliefs you currently have…Opening up your mind to new ideas allows you to the opportunity to change what you think and how you view the world…thinking with an open mind gives you the option of creating positive change and stronger results…One of the scariest (and greatest) things about seeing the world through an open mind is that you make yourself vulnerable…This vulnerability can be both terrifying and exhilarating.”
We breathe the same air. We are made of the same earth. We are nourished by the same plants that depend on the fire of the sun for photosynthesis. Rain is rain, no matter where it falls. Whether your soul is the spiritual or subtle part of you, whether or not it is immortal, whether it is the essence of a specific quality of yours, whether or not you even believe it exists, that connection is still there. That connection is both internal and external. The more you open your heart, the more likely your mind will also be open. “Research has also revealed that the heart is a hormonal gland, manufacturing and secreting numerous hormones and neurotransmitters that profoundly affect brain and body function. Among the hormones the heart produces is oxytocin—well known as the ‘love’ or ‘bonding hormone.’”
Experiment. Try it out. Actually do the exercise I noted at the beginning, and then in the middle. Do the exercise more than once. I guarantee you will have a new and different experience the second time you try the experiment. It will, however, rely on your being willing to notice some amount of detail, and be honest about any little detail that will show up new, both times you try this out. It may even deliver to you some insight specific to some issue in your world where conflict is begging for resolution or fog is begging to be lifted. [It is highly recommended that you make, and keep, good notes,
regardless of how insignificant they may seem to your monkey mind. Note them anyway, even the most trivial.]
The point is this: not only is your body and your mind connected to your heart and soul, you are connected to every other person on this planet, in the same way: heart, mind, body and soul. The change you want to see in the world begins with you. Your new world begins with making new choices. You are way more powerful than you know. I am here to help you remember. Heck, I am still remembering. I have a brilliant teacher to help me. And I am glad to share the wealth. We are all in this together.